Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Plant Guide

Ilex cornuta 'Carissa'

Common Name
Holly 'Carissa'
CA Native
Non-native
Plant Type
Shrub
Size
3' x 3' - 5'
Flower Color
Non-Showy
Bloom Time
Leaves
Dark Olive-Green with Single Terminal Spine
Evergreen
Evergreen
Deer Resistant
Rarely Damaged
Wildlife Value
Growth Rate
Slow
Hardiness
Hardy
Adverse Growth Factors
None
Special Features
Water Use
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Low
Soil pH
Exposure
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
  • Shade
Soil Type
Not Particular
Drainage
Good Drainage
Description and Cultural Plant Tips

This is a small, dense, naturally rounded holl with waxy, dark green leaves. It has only one terminal spine so it is easier to work around. It is ideal for low, formal hedge, tall ground cover or as a foundation plant in a shrub border.

Plant slightly above soil height in sun or part shade. Add an amendment or fertilzer to the top of the soil around the drip line. Water well and then mulch in a 2 foot circle around the plant. Once established needs minimal supplimental irrigation. Fertilize once or twice a year to maintain good leaf color and growth rate. Minimal pruning is needed to keep rounded shape. New growth may revert back to a 7 spine leaf. Prune out if this occurs. Cupping of the leaves may occur in response to extreme heat or drought but this will not affect the plant .

Hollies are susceptible to scale adn aphids.

 

Master Gardener Comments
Varietals

I. cornuta 'Berries Jubilee' - dwarf, dome-shaped holly with large leaves and  heavy crop of berries

I cornuta 'Rotunda' - dwarf, compact, low grower (18" high in 5 yrs)

I cornuta 'Dazzler' - compact, upright growth with heavy berry crop

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